THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 89

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 89

…Speaking of those blasted space-nuts, rumors are spreading about Deke McKinney, nobody has seen him lately…

“Is it just me, or is Roy Crippen a threat to national security?” Harper Lea Bassett asks.

“It’s pretty much just you… and a fundamental sectarian cult the hills of Tennessee. What gives?” Chief-of-Staff Dane Shriver compares his boss to a group of hillbillies who think that if it isn’t found in the Holy Bible, it can’t be true. She just does not get it.

“It seems like NASA is a military drone without the remote control.”

“But Prez Roy is a folk hero and NASA comes in under budget every year… and he wears a white cowboy hat!”

“I wore a white hat on Easter last year!”

“But somebody found it had feathers from an endangered species of bird on it.”

“A Golden-cheeked Warbler, how could I forget?”

“There were only 500 nesting pairs left and they are only found in Texas… and where is our legendary former president from?”

“Okay, alright, but it’s the milliner’s fault. He told me the yellow feathers would bring out the brown in my beautiful hazel eyes.” A scant 51% of Americans would agree, the rest would side with the blue-eyed Republican who campaigned against her three year ago. “If I have him fired, what would be the big whooped-y-do? He’s old and he should retire to that ranch of his.”

“There is still the McKinney factor. They are equally big or bigger heroes as Crippen and that voting block is as loyal as hell to him”

President Bassett is wearing a path into the pink Oval Office carpet.

“Speaking of those blasted space-nuts, rumors are spreading about Deke McKinney, and they say that he a severe case of radiation poisoning… nobody has seen him lately.”

“I heard he is on location in Morocco shooting a movie.”

The the funny thing about rumors & gossip; both lack accuracy as well as credibility and spread faster than a norovirus on a overbooked cruise ship.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 89


page 90

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 86

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 86

…“For a second, Lorgan appeared. It seems our friend’s curiosity got the best of him.” He is telling Gus half of the story. He tells the other half to Fletcher Fitch. “Did you see a reflection of an INTACT Space Colony 1?”…

I am the how & why that blocks your way

2 + 1 = 6

6 – 2 = 9

0 – 1 = 0

Solve the what where & who and you can pass through

“Are you seeing what I am seeing?” asks Gus.

“Is this your idea of a joke?” Roy asks back.

“Nope. I cannot get one inch closer to the stratosphere. I’ve come-about a couple times and tried. Each time this ridiculous quiz pops in.”

“We’re not receiving any data Gus. Sensors must be picking something up?”

“Yes, I see the 32 satellites in orbit…” He stops short. There for all to see is the largest remaining fragment from Space Colony 1, part of the outer spiral, rotating as if it were intact. A month ago it would have sent everyone into a funk, but the game has changed since then. The Space Family McKinney is found to be intact and the Colony, that was to be, is currently just a footnote in the exploration of space, or at least to the 5 or 6 Earthlings on Earth who are in the know. “I hope we can get the whole story from Mom & Dad soon.”

“Hey, you aren’t doing a speck of good out there. Why don’t you head home?”

“Just one little experiment I need to perform.”

“What experiment?”

“This!” Gus unleashes a disruptor blast. “At least I did something while I was here. The less space-junk the better.”

”You unwittingly may have stumbled onto something while you were destroying Global Coalition property.”

“What do you mean?”

“For a second, Lorgan appeared. It seems our friend’s curiosity got the best of him.” He is telling half of the story. He tells the other half to Fitch. “Did you see a reflection of an INTACT Space Colony 1?”

Fitch did.

 Some things are better left forgotten; for a then fifteen year old Gus’ included.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 86


page 87

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 84

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 84

…It is not long before Jean-Luc’s lone{star} Texas patient comes to him with concerns concerning her possible return to Eridanus…

“Lorgan… what?”

“Exactly. What will it do when it sees Gus coming? He happened to scare that shiny vagabond a while back, while it was hiding behind the sun.”

“You Americans really get around these days!” It is hard to impress the Swiss physician, but he is. “And you spell your spacecraft “S-E-X”? What marvelously fun?”

“Like SCIFI isn’t a funny name for a bunch of doctors? Actually it’s spelled capital S-capital E– lower case x,, but pronounced es-ex phonetically and is short for Stellar Explorer.”

“How clever you Americans!” Gus McKinney is mocking a man who is too smart to be mocked.

“Én realité, I think it quite sophomoric, messieurs.”

“Touché Doc. But it’s only between us NASA-types. If the public caught us making fun of SOL, we would lose public support,” Roy states pragmatically.

“But it is in bold letters on the side of the ship!” Details – details. “It seems the public knows very little of what you are doing?”

“Say Gus,” Roy changes the subject, “why don’t you and Fitch prepare our “sexy” machine ready for a quick trip.”

It is back to referencing their escapades on a need-to-know basis.

It is not long before Jean-Luc’s lone{star} Texas patient comes to him with concerns concerning her possible return to Eridanus. Even though she is being treated like a princess and “prince” Joyner is taking to Texas like it is the only home he knows, Cerella is homesick.

The fact that Celeste has informed the folks back home, specifically Deke, about Cerella’s relative safety {and bundle of joy}, she would rather catch the next stagecoach to Eridanus… this despite everyone suspecting the contrary.

“Not from this end you aren’t. Unless your people can figure things out back there, you are stuck here, purement et simplement.” The French adverb is fancy window-dressing.

He could not possibly know of all the potential scenarios and his motives may be slightly selfish. But for the time being, she is the intellectual property of the Suisse Conjoined Institute of Fetal Integrity or as the Americans like to refer to it as SCIFI.

Stardate 2053.999 is ending very much like it started.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 84


page 85 (end ch. 7)

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 76

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 76

… the Space Family McKinney is exceeding its status as kings of deep space lore…

While hearing of Cerella’s recent travails first hand, where she actually left out the details of the dark space she occupied for months, Gus can hardly contain himself. One part joy – two parts anger, he wonders why a clearer message was not sent, rather than the fleeting apparitions in dribs & drabs, albeit cryptic clues about his family.

“We could not risk the current timestem on sentimentality,” she explains.

“And yet you plopped the technology for the molecular stabilizer and Warp 3 in our laps?”

“And disruptor weapon and force field?” adds Roy.

“If Celeste McKinney and I do not stabilize the molecules within your spacecraft, you both would have been lost.”

“Celeste and Sampson, they’re alive too!”

“… and your sister Deimostra.”

A sense of irony has grabbed the headlines.

“We named our baby daughter Marscie Deimos for crying out loud! Did you hear that Roy, I have a sister?”

For as long as Dr. Picard will allow, Cerella narrates the full McKinney saga as best as she can. Mars to NEWFOUNDLANDER, NEWFOUNDLANDER to Eridanus and now Explorer to the ends of the Milky Way and beyond, the Space Family McKinney is exceeding its status as kings of deep space lore.

A “somehow” family reunion is in order, but first Cerella must recover and the NASA boys need to regroup. If only they could call over to Eridanus and make the arrangements. Lost on all the Earthly excitement is that Deke and Co. are no doubt worried silly. Before she conceived, Cerella would have been able to use hyperphysical transmigration to facilitate or at the very least reestablish a telepathic connection with home, but Picard’s surgery did not preserve those extraordinary Eridanian functions. Although he firmly believes that a brain will find a way to mend broken links.

Too bad, either option would come in handy right now.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 76


page 78

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 38

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 38

…I thought I saw my reflection in that shiny object…

The Eridanian ship Defender is hurtling back home with TSF dexterity. The experience with The Seljuk is fresh on every one of the five minds aboard, now being shared amongst those who care.

“Daddy – what has happened to make a nice man like Chasonn so paranoid?” spoken by the 1st Terran-child of space, who has yet to experience many “human nature” concepts.

Sampson McKinney happened to have a pow-wow with the leader of the Seljuk, man-to-man, heart-to-heart, just when it seemed that the man was questioning the motives of the Defender crew. The pair swapped history lessons about their respective planets and discovered that they had more in common than not.

“Long ago Deimostra, when Chasonn was away at their place of higher learning, every Seljuk leader was whisked away, including his father, never to be seen again… it took almost two centuries for the Seljuk to recover.” It is not customary to sit a 21 year old girl on his lap like he is doing, but some wisdom needs to be handed down not discarded. “Trust is something that is earned, not given. And they have kept to themselves ever since, not unlike Eridanus, right Cerella?”

“After we have been far and wide and seen the whole of the Great Expanse, there comes a time when keeping private is the logical choice. Until you people of Earth were brought into our keeping, we had no need to borrow the trouble that lurks on the other side of this and other galaxies. Chasonn and his people made the same choice… and then here we are charging directly into their renewed chaos.”

“On top of that, our arrival came right after they lost communication with their sentinel outposts, as well as the appearance of that phantom planetoid – like the one we spotted on the way in.” That shiny unknown still bothers brother Deke.

“How can anything that flawless do any harm? It’s just like the pictures you showed me Daddy, what you called a Christmas ornament. There were blue ones, red ones, green ones and silver ones. In fact, for a moment, I thought I saw my reflection in it.”

That gives some others pause.

“I saw my reflection too!” Celeste admits.

“I thought the same thing,” Sammy Mac confesses. He thought he was the only one seeing things.

“That is impossible. We didn’t get within 250,000 miles of that thing, before it vanished that is,” Deke tries to be the voice of reason – he saw his reflection as well without admitting it.

In the time it takes for Eridanus to complete one cycle, Defender is back in the berth reserved for it in the Spaceflight Expository, after its mission to the Triangulum Galaxy. At first blush, nothing has changed in the meantime; not a single Eridanian figure had moved.

But in the excitement of recent exploits, they forget about the Null, specifically Skaldic.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 38


page 43

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 31

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 31

…”Lorgan it shall be,” which is how Roy labels it in the spacelog, Stardates 2030.09 and 2052.50…

Gus points at the video recording, “You can see the reflection of SEx!”

“That doesn’t make sense. Telemetry puts that thing at just under 500,000 kms away. The only reflection should be the Sun,” reasons Roy.

“Take a look at Tycho’s spacelog shot of Mars’ magnetosphere, there is Deimos in the background.”

“That thing is 5x bigger!”

“Higher.”

“10x?”

“90 km. What reflection do you see?”

“Tycho.”

“Exactly!”

“Now that is freaky. We should be seeing the moon. It seems our “friend” defies physical conventions.”

To that end, a thoughtful Gus gives it a name, “My dad would call it, Lorgan.”

“Please use that in a sentence.”

“I’ve made it a noun. As a Scottish Gaelic verb it would be ‘leaves a mark’.”

“Lorgan was also a bad-guy-slave-master in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, if my memory serves, but we’ll go with your heritage language version. And when did you take that up, by the way?”

“I have my Aunt Sassy McKinney to thank for that.  Me & Deke spent a summer learning it, as punishment for heading for the hills every time she came to visit.” He hearkens back to a much simpler time, when they were a nuclear family; together & grounded.

Lorgan it shall be,” which is how he labels it in the spacelog, Stardates 2030.09 and 2052.50. For what is worth. Who knows where or when it will ever turn up again?”

“For what is worth, Lorgan is weightless. It doesn’t register on the density sensors. Is it real or our just a figment?”

“What we see with our eyes or with Cameras and Spacelogs cannot all be wrong.” Roy decides to bring another set of experienced eyes to the party. “I want Fletcher Fitch to take a gander. He knows more about satellites than anyone on this planet.”

The engineering wiz obliges.

“So do you think it’s a satellite?” asks Roy.

Gus may have given it a name, but falls short of defining it.

“I’ve got nothing.” Fitch has nothing.

Neither does Roy. “I don’t have a clue what Lorgan is or isn’t, but we are going to keep this under our helmets, okay? For now, let’s take a look around the solar system before we shut things down for the day.”

What a day it has been. Gus is back and safe. Roy himself is not confined to a hospital bed, while hearing yet another story about 2 of the missing McKinneys.

Tonight, is Triple-fudge Delight ice cream night at the Crippen residence.

Life is good to them… so far.


THE NULL SOLUTION

The Good Life by Jean Groberg

Episode 31


page 35

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 10

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 10

…We are not searching for where, we are searching for what…

Searching by Ralph Harlow

–Just what would a caged animal (let’s say a lion) do when it manages to break out of the confines of zoo’s enclosure? You best get out of the way, because Mr. Lion is going to head for the nearest open country and the sense of freedom.

As pleasant and accommodating as the Eridanians have been, one Sampson McKinney represents that captive lion. On one hand, he has the Universe laid out before him, while on the other, all those planets, stars and galaxies are nothing but raw meat he cannot sample. It feels like a lion’s lifetime since he has tasted the sweet essence of autonomy.

Up until this point in time, Stardate 2052.50, the Defender has been sitting in the Spaceflight Expository certainly appreciated but absolutely unused. It was designed by a long-gone previous generation on Eridanus, when getting somewhere meant something; to an exploratory people that has since waned and the security of the Milky Way Galaxy was not an issue. On Earth, Jesus Christ had yet to take his first step.

Barnard’s Loop

The Space Family McKinney is poised to see what’s up on the other side of Barnard’s Loop.

Much to their dismay, it is Cerella who will pilot Defender once it escapes the gravitational influence of their “home star” Epsilon Eridani.

“Are we headed to the Pinwheel Galaxy, oh wise daughter-in-law of mine?” That would be one guess, Sammy Mac. She shakes her head “no.”

“How about Andromeda X, at zero point 4 degrees,” yet another suspicion from Deke is shot down.

We are not searching for where, we are searching for what.” Judging by her blank stare, she is not entirely sure. Leading up to this unauthorized expedition she has had a chance to study the ancient/taboo texts that refer to an unknown force that has before upended the Eridanian applecart and that has done so once again. “When we have passed the Orion Nebula, as you call it, I will engage the time-space-fold drive. It is with that invisible impunity that will begin our search.”

“Oh swell. This is like getting a driving lesson, but you’re not allowed to touch the steering wheel!”

Too bad.

“Relax and enjoy the ride Dad,” Deke has 100% confidence in the real driver. “What can we do my dear mate-for-life-wife?”

Cerella decides to concede some control, “Sampson McKinney, please plot a course 15˚ mark 7 to the Triangulum Galaxy.”

“Now you are speaking my language! I love it when you talk navigation to me.”

“Isn’t that the Seljuk neighborhood?” Deke surmises.

“We must check on their safety before we proceed further,” Cerella clarifies.

Sammy Mac cannot resist asking, “And why do you care about them?”

“They are our friends.”

“… the kind of friends that you haven’t talked to in how many years?”

“The passing of time is a relative measurement.”

 

Perception is 90% of reality.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Perception & Reality by Cameron Holmes

Episode 10


page 16 (end ch. 1)

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 5

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 5

…If the moon is made of Swiss cheese, the fabric of the Solar System is held together by Good & Plenty candy…

the taste of heaven by hannelin

— For a 24/7 operation the SOL hangar has to come to a complete standstill and it  is quite eerie.

  • The LED lighting has been minimized.
  • The only sounds are generated by the ambient hum of idling electronics.

Of the five human senses, Roy Crippen is prepared to utilize all of them. He prowls around Stellar Explorer without an agenda; stalking it, sizing it up without outside distraction.

The first thing he detects is the “smell of space”, the real smells of reinforced titanium having sliced through zero-gravity at 3x SOL. He talks to himself, ‘So that is how dark-matter smells.’ Just what that odor resembles resists tagging, but he’ll tuck it away for future reference regardless.

As he approaches the crew ladder, it finally hits him, “Licorice,” he concludes. If the moon is made of Swiss cheese, the fabric of the Solar System is held together by Good & Plenty candy.

He climbs the stairs as if they will crumble under his 200 lbs. Each of the 15 rungs holds-up reliably so, though the squeaking from his rubber-soled shoes seems out of place. When his eye level reaches floor height, rather his nose, he detects the faint smell of cologne strikes him, as does the fact that Gus McKinney doesn’t use fragrance. Deke McKinney does – Giorgio Armani.” He should recognize it since it was his Christmas gift to the elder stepson.

It is amazing what a person can sense when they filter out the unnecessary noise.

Once inside the fairly cramped crew cabin, there is a faint zephyr that seems to pass thru his thinning white hair. Out of the corner of his eye he is positive he saw an opaque flash.

Image result for wavy line gif

#What can I leave in the cabin to reassure our friend# asks Celeste of Ekcello.

#Your voice#

Image result for wavy line gif

Roy… ”

Roy hears just, “Roy” , no other word.

The CSI-Galveston investigator freezes. Just like the smells of licorice and Armani, this barely audible note has a familiar ring to it. Five minutes later it comes to him, albeit dubious, “Celeste?”

Related imageIt has been over twenty years since he had heard that voice; the day in 2030 when she and Sampson McKinney announced that they were departing Space Colony 1, which would be for the final time.

On top of that, he remembers what Gus had told him about the final seconds of his mission recollection, that Deke said he saw something or other of their mother.

Out of the blue, an aura of peace comes over Roy Crippen, much like that exhibited by a suddenly fully orphaned Gus McKinney.

Image result for wavy line gif

#That is sufficient Celeste McKinney. We must vacate this timestem#


The NULL Solution =

Five Senses of Humans by Seshadri – Expressionism

Episode 5


page 11

 

Cast of Characters – THE NULL SOLUTION

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THE NULL SOLUTION

 Cast of Characters

…Let’s meet the people and visit the places you will be reading about in:

 – Primary Characters:

  • Sampson McKinney is the Commander of the expedition to establish a colony on Mars
  • Celeste McKinney is the wife of Sampson and the LT. Commander of the Space Colony 1 mission
  • Deke McKinney – the elder son of Sampson & Celeste
  • Gus McKinney – younger brother to Deke
  • Deimostra Samantha McKinney – sister of Deke & Gus, conceived on the way to Mars and named after Mras’ larger moon Deimos
  • Joyner McKinney – child of Deke and Cerella, heir to Eupepsia
  • ALL THE ABOVEThe Space Family McKinney

  • Braden King – family friend to the McKinneys and voice of Mission Control
  • Roy Crippen – Director of NASA and the SPACE COLONY 1 project
  • Rick Stanley – Commander of the New Mayflower rescue
  • Francine Bouchette – Houston USA television anchor who lands squarely in the middle of everything
  • Aldona Alfridia Talibanistani (see below) scientist who is asked to conspire against SPACE COLONY but refuses — Fletcher Fitch – name given Aldona when he defected to the United States to help with the SOL Project. Fatima – his wife (and 2 unnamed daughters)
  • Nae Tan-DanUnited Korean operative who is cahoots with Talibanistan
  • Shaikh Kamran Khan-Nutkani – Talibanistan leader determined to undermine an otherwise global effort
  • Ekcello – The Supreme Leader of the High Counsel of Eridanus
  • Cerella – daughter of Ekcello and heiress to the High Counsel
  • Fortan – Mate to Ekcello, Mother of Cerella

– NULL Only

  • Chasonn – Leader of the Seljuk
  • Skaldic the Null – Leader of the non-“gifted” class on Eridanus
  • Harper Lea Bassett – 50th President of the United States of America
  • Zupzio the Last – Ruler of the Ÿ€Ð
  • Offinga – condfidant to Skaldic
  • Dr. Jean-Luc Picard – Cerella’s brain surgeon from Switzerland
  • The Keeper – of knowledge on Eridanus
  • XAT – banished Eridanian space-travel guru
  • Alf(red) Quigby – President/Founder Space Family McKinney Fan Club

– Supporting cast:

Fredrick C. Cabell – Human Resources NASA, deceased

Phil Jansky – NASA Spatial Debris specialist, deceased

Mike Judge – Okaloosa County Florida Sheriff

Geraldo Franco – Okaloosa County Coroner

Miles Scheffeldink – Space Colony Mission Physician

Abdullah Ashtaar – the key to Istanbul

Mehmet Ali Erim – Turkish taxi driver

Elliot Deming – Consulate General – US Turkish Embassy

Senator Broyles – Texas legislator

“Larry” – Francine Bouchette’s fiancee & KHST director, VP

Randi Gilbert – NASA test pilot & news source for Francine Bouchette

Steven Sharkey – Francine’s co-anchor at KHST

Karl – NASA Chief Engineer

Grandma Savta Bergestrom – Celeste’s Mother from Sweden

Aunt Sassy McKinney – Sampson’s crazy Scottish/Irish sister

Jimmy D – Silver Seas Bartender

Roger Rodrigues – Roy & Francines’s Jamaican tour guide

Kim Jong-un – United Korea’s Supreme Leader

Silvia Freelove – Bud Cauley – Pres/vice pres candidates 2032

Skip Chandler – Freelove’s campaign strategist

Hector Grisbaum – Susannah Grisbaum – New Mexico Congressman & daughter (who sets up Deke M.)


– NULL only

Dane Shriver – Bassett’s Chief of Staff

Carlotta – McKinney housekeeper at King Ranch

Charlize – Dr. Picard’s receptionist

Fadl Badi Farook – New York parade bomber


– The Interstellar Transportation

  • Space Colony 1 the orbiting portion of the Mars Colony
  • The Chronicle – the deep-space shuttle that carries the McKinneys to Mars
  • Tycho – the Mars lander where Sam & Celeste are stranded when the orbiting colony blows up
  • The New Mayflower – the mission to rescue the McKinneys on Mars
  • Newfoundlander – the Eridani spacecraft that hijacks the McKinneys (Sam, Celeste, Deimostra)
  • Stellar Explorer {SEx} – the speed-of-light cruiser that takes Deke & Gus on a detour to Orion’s Belt
  • Defender – TSF enabled Eridanian craft used to contact the Seljuk
  • TSF – Time-Space-Fold propulsion/space travel
  • Collapsar AxisŸ€Ð  mobile homeworld

– The many and varied locales in both THE RETURN TRIP and The NULL Solution:

  • 2030 Earth
  • Talibanistan – the very large country that absorbs all the rest of the “-stans” and is a haven for global mischief
  • United Korean Peninsula – the combined country formerly North & South where the South is consumed by the evil & secretive North
  • Istanbul/Constantinople Turkey
  • Sultan Ahmet Mosque
  • Mars the Red Planet – the fourth planet from the sun
  • KHST Television Houston Texas
  • Jamaica
  • Silver Seas Resort/Hotel
  • Epsilon EridaniA star in Orion’s Belt and where Sampson & Celeste are hijacked to
  • EridanusA planet in the Epsilon star system
  • Eupepsia – The home tower/city of Ekcello and Cerella and THE SPACEFLIGHT EXPOSITORY
  • Triangulum Galaxy
  • Galaxy Sexta A
  • Ÿ€Ð – Have a sketchy history with Eridanus
  • The Seljuk –  An  alien race located in the Triangulum Galaxy. They are previously “known” the Eridanians
  • SCIFI – Suisse Conjoined Institute of Fetal Integrity {Switzerland}

 Cast of Characters

 The NULL Solution

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 1

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 1

…THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE SPACE FAMILY MCKINNEY…

Chapter One

 The Return Trip Continues {Stardate 2051}

… And so it was on that fateful day of the return trip, at 3X the speed-of-light, on an abnormally cold January day {in usually arid Galveston Texas that Gus McKinney is trying to explain what is inexplicable. His adoptive father, who also happens to be the heart and soul of NASA’s SOL Project, fears the possibilities. How can the young co-pilot possibly clarify someone vanishing? That he departed Earth’s gravitational influence with his brother, Deke in Stellar Explorer’s pilot seat, only to return without him.

“So you and Deke thought you were in trouble, ‘phasing in and out’ as you put it?” Roy Crippen is in an untenable position. After having experienced the elation about what had been deemed a colossal success, he must now reconcile what can only be described as a handful of nothing.

Gus McKinney knows nothing, at an utter loss for answers, but for some odd reason he parades a peaceful façade.

Former President of the United States of America {#48}, “Prez Roy”, can only be described as befuddled. “I have been getting some feedback from Fletcher Fitch here {lead SOL engineer}, not to mention the crew of the SLAV that clocked your speed averaged around warp 3 — WARP freaking 3, Gus! Stellar Explorer was engineered to approach SOL, not exceed it, could not exceed it… yet here you are in one piece, returning to Earth with a spacecraft that has been souped-up!”

“Look Crip, if I had clue what happened, you’d be the first to know.” Gus is still in shock himself. “All I know is that I have this nagging feeling that Deke is alright.”

“But…”

“Yeah, I know that doesn’t make a lick of sense, but some damned weird stuff was going on in the cabin just about the time we lit the fuse.” The memory is fresh, if not sketchy. “The last thing I remember, Deke said something about Mom.”

“What do I have to do with this?” The former First Lady of the USA, project Spokeswoman and host on The Space Channel, Francine Bouchette-Crippen, has been an insistently ardent observer to the debriefing.

“No offense Francine, but I got the feeling he was talking about our real mom, as in Celeste McKinney, you know, the one who vanished from Mars along with Dad back in 2030.”


The NULL Solution

Episode 1


page 7